Dr Diwei Lin

A passionate clinician and researcher, Dr Diwei Lin is making inroads into prostate cancer research, determining continence outcomes post-surgery to ultimately improve the lives of the one in five men living with prostate cancer. This research has been possible thanks to the South Australian Prostate Cancer Clinical outcomes Collaborative (SA-PCCOC) database.

Dr Lin, along with researcher Dr Michael O’Callaghan and urologists from South Terrace Urology have been using the SA-PCCOC database to work towards improving patient outcomes following a robotic-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy, a type of surgery used to treat men living with prostate cancer.

To do this, Dr Lin and his fellow urologists have been investigating different factors that could affect patient outcomes following surgery; including age, body mass index and the size of the prostate.

“We are looking how these factors can potentially affect continence outcomes (involuntary loss of urine from the bladder) post-surgery to prepare men on potential challenges they could face. This is important so they are not overwhelmed once the surgery is over and their daily routine is changed. It is vital these men are in the right frame of mind to face what lies ahead of them,” Dr Lin said.

“Our study found the one factor that makes a difference with surgery is the volume of the prostate itself. While this factor is not something we can control, it is something that will be useful in helping us counsel men pre-surgery.

“The exciting thing is we can potentially predict an outcome for men post-surgery with regards to their continence based on a series of pre-operative predictors. This is also one of the largest Australian-based studies performed to date.”

This is a very exciting outcome for Dr Lin and his team as overseas studies have traditionally described body mass index and age as negative predictors of worse outcomes post-surgery.

“Our biggest aim is to improve the lives of men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and I believe we can with our findings,” Dr Lin said.

“We have been able to complete a very robust and well-designed study thanks to data provided by the SA-PCCOC database.

“We’ve come a long way in terms of the technology available to perform these operations, the information patients receive about long term outcomes from surgery and also the overall survival of prostate cancer. Everything has improved and it is thanks to research and the valuable data that is essentially at our hands to use.

“This research will hopefully change the outcomes of men post-surgery who are living with prostate cancer and make it easier for them to face the challenges of this type of surgery.”